Features 2 minutes 05 March 2021

The New Michelin Guide Green Star for Sustainability

We take a closer look at Inver in Scotland – one of the UK’s most sustainable restaurants

The 2021 edition of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland saw the introduction of a new award – the Michelin Green Star. This distinction highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices and who act as role models to us all.

In its first year, the Michelin Green Star was awarded to 23 restaurants. Over the coming weeks, we will explore what some of them are doing behind the scenes… starting with Scotland’s only Michelin Green Star restaurant, Inver in Strachur.

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A former crofter’s cottage and boat store, Inver sits in a beautifully isolated spot on the shore of Loch Fyne – Scotland’s longest sea loch – and offers wonderful views out across the water.

With an MSc in Food Policy and experience working for both food charities and campaign groups, chef-owner Pamela Brunton has always held ethical and environmental considerations close to her heart, so it’s no surprise to find that her restaurant has followed a sustainable path right from the outset.

For Pamela, sustainability is much more than just a buzz word; it is the solid ground upon which she builds her business…

“The people, landscape, plants and animals that guide and shape our menus are an ecosystem – in which the restaurant is one evolving part. If they don’t thrive, then neither can we. And, in turn, the community we nurture sustains us.

We compost our food waste, and local gardeners – Kate and Russ – return vibrant salad, soft fruits and edible flowers to us the following year. Mary, Robin and Alastair bring us fish and shellfish from the loch – and afterwards the oyster and mussel shells are returned to it. Our meats and dairy produce come from local farms and estates, who work for the welfare of the land as well as that of the animals.”

It’s clear to see that the concise, modern menus are led by the finest local, wild and foraged ingredients – and there are as many vegetable-based dishes as there are those centred on meat or fish. Where meats are used, nothing goes to waste, with everything from the pork rind to the brains to the bones utilised in one way or another.

Inver also offers accommodation, in the form of luxuriously furnished bothies, built using eco-friendly wood fibre insulation, triple-glazing and sustainable Scottish larch cladding – and heated by air-source heat pumps.

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To accompany the tranquil surroundings and stunning views, are breakfast picnic baskets which celebrate all things natural and local: they might include homemade butter, preserves and yoghurt; local eggs and local farmhouse cheeses; house-cured meats; coffee roasted nearby and juices made using fruit and vegetables from the gardens.

Water used on-site comes from the surrounding hills, they use only low-impact cleaning products, and they monitor and limit energy use.

The well-being of the people who work with them is also a priority, so working hours are capped and wages are similar across the team. They also invest time in skills training and encourage staff contributions to both menus and processes, so that everyone’s job is rewarding.

“The food and hospitality industry is not a level playing field, and it has taken hard work and financial and emotional sacrifice to get the business to the point where can say these things, but now I believe working at Inver – and the way Inver works – is truly sustainable.”
Pamela Brunton

Green Stars are identified by a new green sustainability symbol – and details of their practices are outlined in their entry. 46 further restaurants have also been identified as taking positive steps to work in a greener way, and their listings come with one-line descriptions of some of their initiatives. Click here for all Michelin Green Star listings in the UK/Republic of Ireland.

For 2021, the guide is published in digital format only, both online (UK and Republic of Ireland) and via the iOS app.


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